Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Power The Almighty Buck United States Technology

Amazon Battles Google for Renewable Energy Crown (bloomberg.com) 51

Readers share a report: Even in the age of coal enthusiast President Donald Trump, clean-energy developers are finding plenty of interest in wind and solar power from businesses with sustainability targets, especially technology companies. That was on display in a video tweeted Thursday by Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, as he christened the 253-megawatt Amazon Wind Farm Texas in Scurry County. Amazon has bought more than 1.22 gigawatts of output to date from U.S. clean-energy projects, second only to Alphabet's Google, with 1.85 gigawatts. Corporations have agreed to buy 1.9 gigawatts of clean power in the U.S. this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and are on pace to match the 2.6 gigawatts signed last year.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amazon Battles Google for Renewable Energy Crown

Comments Filter:
  • What happens when Amazon or Google buy 1 GW of green power, does a coal plant gets shut down? No. What happen is that the typical home customer has its share of green power reduced from say, 4% to 3%. The production remains the same. What matters is the total emissions of the country, divided by its population. The US continue to be one of the worst.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What matters is the total emissions of the country, divided by its population.

      That's totally incorrect. You're only focusing on emissions (a byproduct of consumption), without considering utility. You aren't considering what was achieved using the energy obtained by each unit of per-capita greenhouse gas emission!

      The question you're asking is, "How much emissions did each person generate?", when the question we should be asking is, "How much productivity was generated from the emissions that each person gen

      • by fred6666 ( 4718031 ) on Thursday October 19, 2017 @03:39PM (#55399139)

        That's totally incorrect. You're only focusing on emissions (a byproduct of consumption), without considering utility. You aren't considering what was achieved using the energy obtained by each unit of per-capita greenhouse gas emission!

        It's a feature, not a bug.
        Even if we double the utility (GDP, GNP, whatever) of the planet, we can't double our CO2 emissions.

        I would also point out that if we double the population of the planet, we can't double our CO2 emissions and this is also true. So the CO2 per capita metric is only valid as long as the population of the planet remains the same. When the population increase, the CO2 per capita of all countries should be reduced too, but you get the idea.

        Now, rich countries with high GDP per capita should be free to buy emissions credit from poorer countries emitting a lot less per capita. Let's let the market decide what is the most efficient way to use CO2. But we can't let the market decide what level of CO2 is sustainable for the planet.

        You stop prematurely, and thus totally miss out on the economic aspect of this issue.

        I am pretty sure we both understand the economic aspect of this issue. The problem is, you can't face the consequences, which are that rich countries, in which we probably both live, have to reduce CO2 emissions by a wide margin.

      • Just think about it another way:

        Let's imagine a planet with 10 people. All 10 of them produce the same utility ($1 each per year) and emit the same amount of CO2 yearly (1 ton).
        One day, two of them have a good idea and can produce more utility which allows them to double their utility output to $2. They live in larger houses and get big cars.
        So by your logic, they should have the right to emit twice as much CO2. The previous emissions were 10 tons, but now that raised to 12.
        Are you saying a 20% increase in

    • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Thursday October 19, 2017 @03:06PM (#55398903)

      What happens when Amazon or Google buy 1 GW of green power, does a coal plant gets shut down? No. What happen is that the typical home customer has its share of green power reduced from say, 4% to 3%. The production remains the same. What matters is the total emissions of the country, divided by its population. The US continue to be one of the worst.

      Yes, coal plants do get shut down. US utilities have plans to close 40 coal power plants over the next four years. [eenews.net] These plants are primarily shut down because of competition with natural gas and renewal energy. So when Amazon or Google buy 1 GW of green power, that is 1 GW less that coal power plants are making in revenue. That causes power plants to be shut down.

      US residential electricity sales have been going down since 2010 in both total figures and per capita figures. This is both because of energy efficiency improvements and cheaper forms of energy production. US carbon emissions are going down because of these trends.

      • So when Amazon or Google buy 1 GW of green power, that is 1 GW less that coal power plants are making in revenue.

        Only if they can't shift that electricity production towards others, less regarding, customers.
        Otherwise, they do not lose a dime in revenue. That was my original point. Currently there are way too much customers in the USA who don't care about green energy and would choose coal instead of solar even to save 1% on their bill.

        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          So when Amazon or Google buy 1 GW of green power, that is 1 GW less that coal power plants are making in revenue.

          Only if they can't shift that electricity production towards others, less regarding, customers.
          Otherwise, they do not lose a dime in revenue. That was my original point. Currently there are way too much customers in the USA who don't care about green energy and would choose coal instead of solar even to save 1% on their bill.

          You missed the part where US emissions are going down and coal plants are closing because they cannot shift their production towards other less regarding customers. You bring up a possible outcome that is worth investigating, but after even a few minutes of investigation you can easily find your scenario is not happening.

          • Renewable are becoming cheaper every day. And cheap oil and gas, with Obama's stricter regulations, made coal useless. That's why coal plants are shutting down. Not because customers don't want to buy electricity from coal. Most US customers will still buy whatever is the cheapest, so it doesn't matter if Amazon and Google wants to run 100% on renewable. As long as the demand for green electricity is below the current production, the effect is minimal.
            15% of the electricity is green in the US. What's the sh

      • Unless you are providing your own Tesla Wall or shutting down your operations when the wind stops blowing and the sun isn't shining, your "share" of Green Power cannot ever be more than, say, 20 percent of your total consumption. Or whatever other percentage of intermittent power can be placed on the Grid, without compromising its stability in the absence of grid-scale storage or some serious "demand management" in terms of customers using electricity when the intermittent sources are online.

        Certainly c

    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday October 19, 2017 @03:24PM (#55399007) Journal

      What happens when Amazon or Google buy 1 GW of green power, does a coal plant gets shut down? No. What happen is that the typical home customer has its share of green power reduced from say, 4% to 3%. The production remains the same.

      No.

      What happens is, with a guaranteed customer with concentrated loads (and no need to cut a deal with a power distribution company to sell THEM the power), an investor builds renewable-energy plants near the Amazon or Google sites and starts selling them the power. So more generation DOES get built for the projects, and the consumers' mix is not impacted as you describe.

      (In the short run such big projects may push the price of equipment up slightly, but in the long run they enable economy-of-scale manufacturing that brings the price down.)

      Photovoltic panels, for instance, beat grid power once they cost less than a dollar per watt. Market price in 10-panel pallet loads was $0.33 last I looked, and even the domestic panel manufacturers who won the anti-dumping decision are only asking for a price floor of $0.78.

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      If you RTFA (hard, I know) you will see that Google and Amazon are buying new renewable power from developers who are building for them so it doesn't displace other users of power.

  • You only need 1.21 gigawatts to travel back in time, buy Bitcoins at USD$0.008, become the most powerful company on the planet and simply buy out any and all competitors before they become a threat.

    • You only need 1.21 gigawatts to travel back in time, buy Bitcoins at USD$0.008, become the most powerful company on the planet and simply buy out any and all competitors before they become a threat.

      Don't buy too MANY of the Bitcoins. You might get back to now and find out that the market that drove their price up never developed and theyr're worth nothing.

      • You only need 1.21 gigawatts to travel back in time, buy Bitcoins at USD$0.008, become the most powerful company on the planet and simply buy out any and all competitors before they become a threat.

        Don't buy too MANY of the Bitcoins. You might get back to now and find out that the market that drove their price up never developed and theyr're worth nothing.

        Actually, that's as good an explanation of why bitcoins have risen in price as any other: time travellers bought them up.

        • Every time you read about a hard drive with a large number of bitcoins that was "lost", it was really a time traveller gathering them and bringing them forward to some future time.

  • Gigawatts? or Gigawatt HOURS?

    It makes a big difference.

    Buying a Gigawatt means buying the ability to draw up to a Gigawatt from a supplier. That might end up being anywhere from nothing to a Gigawatthour EVERY HOUR - 8,766 Gigawatt hours (about 8.8 Terrawatt hours) every year.

  • is all I could think about when I saw Amazon's number

  • I'll believe people are serious about CAGW when I see the US start to built nuclear reactors at a rate that is equal to that of shutting down old coal and nuclear. A quick Google search tells me that 6GW of coal was retired in the first half of 2016. If we assume a new nuclear power plant has a capacity of 1 GW (which is pretty common) then we should see a new nuclear power plant in the USA every month. My quick search only verified what I've heard elsewhere, we will need 1 GW of new nuclear power capaci

    • You clearly have no idea how many of nuclear's real costs are passed on to the taxpayer. Did you know damages in the event of a problem are capped at a tiny fraction of any reasonable cleanup cost...with the balance to be paid by the government? It's the only way they can get insurance companies to cover a nuclear generating plant. Not many accidents, but when they happen, hold onto your wallet!

      And every nuclear plant I've ever heard of went over budget one way or another. The one currently waving in fr

      • Everything you list is something that can be fixed through proper management. Perhaps we could, I'm just tossing this out there, have a competition on the best designs based on safety and cost. That would require that we actually build nuclear reactors. Those that come in on budget and on time get to build another. It's almost like capitalism works to our benefit or something.

        The alternatives to fixing the broken laws we live under that manage nuclear power and fission products is CAGW or the lights goi

        • You raise excellent points about "proper management". Somehow, it just never seems to happen. When I took business law back in high school, one of the first things we learned is that in a basic contract, if costs go too high, the contractor shouldn't have bid so low and gets to pay the difference. That never happens with these contracts, and I've never heard a convincing explanation for it.

          Also, there's no reason why we should even be considering building basically the same kind of generating stations we

          • It's also becoming increasingly obvious that solar, wind and probably also geothermal and tidal generation is going to be a bigger and bigger part of the mix, along with decentralized generation.

            No, it's not obvious. We've been dumping money into "bootstrapping" the wind and solar energy industries for a very long time now through subsidies and other laws that make them profitable by fiat. Whenever there is a threat to end, or even reduce, the subsidies my mailbox fills with fliers to call my congresscritters. If wind and solar cannot stand on their own then they cannot grow beyond what the government spends on propping them up.

            People all over the world are getting tired of increasing energy pri

            • Sorry, my friend, but you're shooting at the wrong target. Fossil fuel subsidies in 2015 (the last year they've got all the data assembled, as far as I know) were over $5 trillion world-wide. Total renewable subsidies were around $88 billion. Yes, that's a large number, but it's a tiny fraction of the amount governments hand over to fossil fuel giants. And fossil fuels are a mature industry. They should be standing on their own feet. You say renewables should be doing that, even though by any measure

              • Nothing you wrote contradicted anything I wrote. Sure, we might see some more investment in wind and smart grids but that cannot make wind become anything more than a small percentage of our energy supply.

                As for China "jumping in with both feet" into wind and solar that's not quite true. Sure, they'll probably install 2 GW of solar this year but they'll also install 5 GW of nuclear this year. China has 80 GW of nuclear power capacity right now and 8 GW of solar. For every GW of solar they are building 1

    • I'll believe people are serious about CAGW when I see the US start to built nuclear reactors at a rate that is equal to that of shutting down old coal and nuclear.

      This. Germany is a great example. They have decided shutting down nuclear plants is more important that carbon emissions reductions. Had they not shut down any units they would have shown significant reductions, but because they have shut them down they have made insignificant progress on reductions from electrical generation even with their massive investments in wind and solar. And when they take the next unit off line (next year), emissions will increase.

      People like to argue about the cost, but all we

  • Even in the age of coal enthusiast President Donald Trump

    This is really getting tiresome. Trump doesn't give a flying flip about coal, or nuclear, or solar, or anything else (unless he has invested some money in one of them, which I haven't heard). Hillary was stupid enough to throw the coal miners under the bus during the election, so Trump used that to his advantage while campaigning to cozy up to them. I bet Trump wouldn't even know what a piece of coal looks like. Coal for power energy is a dead end - solar and natural gas are both cheaper and safer and ar

    • I see these "Hate has no home here" yard signs in a liberal/Progressive college town.

      If half the population hates Mr. Trump, that means this homeowner is signaling to people-in-the-know that he supports President Trump because he is against hate?

  • Doesn't even mention Apple??

    200 MW of solar in Reno, 170 MW of solar in China, etc..

    https://www.computerworld.com/... [computerworld.com]

  • Do I read the numbers correctly? We talk about 2 GWh per year, while US consumes 3,913,000 GWh from electrical energy, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

    The renewable part is so small that I am still looking for a 1000 fold error somewhere in the units.

  • I think Trump might even be a factor in the acceleration of the adoption of green energy. Many people who are older than 40 experience the change of the climate, and take it seriously. They cringe while hearing Trump's rambles about energy and the climate. They also realize that trusting a deranged carrot to do what it promised isn't very smart. Green energy is locally produced, by the owner of the equipment, and thus a much more reliable source than promised coal. Then there is the chance that the next pre

"A child is a person who can't understand why someone would give away a perfectly good kitten." -- Doug Larson

Working...